Trip Reports, October 2008

31 August 2008 Wairoa Gorge Bike Ride Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn 

A very pleasant 36km jaunt in the country was enjoyed (I think) by all.

10.00am, nine trampers come cyclists met at the Brightwater Inn. Cycled via back roads to Wakefield where coffee, two muffins and one peppermint tea were savoured at Chateau Rhubarbe. Back on the bikes, through the picturesque farmland of Church Valley, over a hill and onto the gravel road of Pig Valley. A few kilometres of ups and downs through native bush then a short detour to the Wairoa River saw us munch lunch, during another brief shower. A few more kilometres of gravel and we were back on the seal for a speedy return to our starting point, at around 2.00pm and all this with barely a car in sight. Cyclists were: Carole Crocker, Gillian Arbuthnott, Ken Ridley, Mark Stevens, Rosalie Horsfield, Rosemary Weir and visitors Pam Satherly and Sandra Lawn.
31 August 2008 Upper Roding Falls Organiser: Lawrie Halkett 

The programmed trip was changed in order to avoid a good part of the day scrambling over windblown trees. Instead seven keen beans met at Lawrie's house and commenced a jaunt from there. Across Hill Street and upon entering the forest we were confronted by a sign saying “Danger, Forest Closed, Tree Felling". Given it was Sunday it was considered highly unlikely that anyone "official" would be wielding a chainsaw, so an executive decision was taken and the party proceeded onward, up Jimmy Lee Creek toward the Richmond fire lookout. Near the top Marie decided to return, whence she had come, with the remnants of the bot constraining continued exertion. Despite it starting to drizzle, the remaining six carried on past the fire lookout, north towards Barnicoat Hill. The hike was made interesting for a while as we negotiated a very gorsey over-grown track, ducking in and out dodging the odd wind fallen tree along the way. Once it was possible to access the major ridgeline road the travelling became easier. Looking east into the plantation forest proper we could see hectare upon hectare of jolly green giants (aka radiata pine) flattened or broken by the gale force winds that had battered the district the week before. Visibility closed right down as the drizzle persisted, so we resorted to exchanging stories. Lawrie started off by mentioning stories he had read in the latest survival book by Carl Walrond ("Survive! Remarkable Tales from the NZ Outdoors") Alice carried on for the rest of the afternoon explaining her survival techniques in dealing with the opposite sex. Not only did she entertain us as we pushed on down Barnicoat Hill, along Marsden Valley and through Isel Park (a very sad sight) she also had waiting for us at her home muffins and chocolate brownies! Thanks Alice. 

Party: Alice Patterson, Dan McGuire, Kazu Abe, Lawrie Halkett, Ray Caird and Uta Purcell. 
6 September 2008 Winter Peak (1750m) Organiser: Marguerite Verheul 

By 9.30am all eight of us left a relatively empty Flora carpark, for Arthur Hut, keen to be out in the sun and snow after the winter storms and surplus rainfall had cancelled numerous scheduled club trips. Hard crunchy snow met us twenty minutes below the hut, and evidence of prior heavy snowfalls surrounded the hut with a white carpet. A quiet cuppa and a munch before most of us carried on up the hill toward a sunny Winter Peak, while Uta and Beverley stayed on at the hut to enjoy the sun and climbing higher to enjoy the views, at a more leisurely pace. Tussock and then more snow (not so crunchy), followed by some negotiations regarding the best route to approach Winter Peak, before we reached our lunch spot on the top of Winter Peak at 1.00pm. Snow and small cornices made Mt Arthur look like a serious mountain, while The Twins looked more severe with their blanket of snow and steep angles. Below to the east, hills and farmland carried a strange green halo of pollen. More food and drink (as you do) and then back down the hill. Jan and Steve descended via numerous bum slides, while the rest of us descended through snow that became increasingly sloppy from the warmer temperatures. We passed several other parties out to make the best of the good conditions, before reaching the carpark late afternoon. Grahame Harris originally suggested this trip and was scheduled to lead. “Well Graham you’d be hard pressed to organize a better day – Thank you. “

Party: Dave Blunt, Ruth Hesselyn, Bob Janssen, Beverley Muirhead, Steve McGlone, Uta Purcell, Marguerite Verheul and visitor, Jan.
7 September 2008 Captain Creek Hut Organiser: Carole Crocker 

Four keen trampers assembled at the Prince Albert on Nile Street bright and early. There was absolutely no traffic during the drive to Pelorus. Carole Crocker led us through the swamps covering much of the initial track due to recent high rainfall. We got to Captain Creek hut in two and a half hours. The weather was pleasantly cool with sunshine. After a half hour by the river for lunch, we headed back to the car and arrived in the same time frame as we had hiked to the hut. A pleasant day thanks to Carole. Participants: Carole Crocker, Dan McGuire (Scribe), John Faber and Rosalie Horsfield.
14 September 2008. St Arnaud Range, via Grunt Track. Cancelled Organiser: Mark Stevens 
14 September 2008 Harris Farm Circuit Organiser: David Blunt 

Thirteen eager trampers showed up at the leisurely hour of 8:45am to attack the Harris Farm Circuit. To add a bit of challenge we left our cars on the street below the long road winding up to the farm. The weather was ideal with only a slight breeze and visibility was fabulous. Dave Blunt led us through the paddocks with views right over Atawhai and Nelson City, to a forestry road. We followed the road up through the plantation area until settling on a lunch spot which offered views of The Doubles, Little Twin, Mt. Maungatapu, Dun Mountain, Wooded Peak and the tip of Mt. Richmond, as well as Delaware Bay. We took a similar route back and arrived at the cars just after 2:00pm. Thanks David for a great walk. Participants: Beverly Muirhead, Ross Price, Margaret Page, Gillian Arbuthnott, Dan McGuire(Scribe), Uta Purcell, Gretchen Williams, Tony Haddon, Sue and Mike Locke, Tom Brown, Dave Blunt and visitor, Brenda Griffin.
20 September 2008 Wainui Hut/Moa Park Organiser: Alison Pickford 

The nicest Saturday for some weeks saw a great turnout for the Wainui Valley/Moa Park walk. Thirteen folk met at the Richmond Badminton Hall, fitted into three cars, and met again at the start of the Canaan Road just to make sure we all got that far. On to the Harwood's carpark; boots on, lovely walk down Wainui Valley through beech forest, substantial morning tea at the old hut, and steady climb up the ridge. The vegetation changed dramatically to dracophylum, cedar and the continuation of a most attractive bronze leaved small tree I can't find in my books. Ten side-tripped some boggy stuff to Moa Park 'Hut /Shelter' (no fireplace or bunks now) for a late lunch. It was hard to get up and get going again - the sun was so-ooo nice! Eventually (sorry to those waiting) joined the others back on the Wainui Saddle after a quick jaunt to the lookout. Glorious view to the mountains across the farm and forest from the lookout. From Wainui Saddle we dropped onto the farm and made our way back to the carpark. Everybody happy! 

Participants: Ross Price, Uta Purcell, Jo Kay, Trish Bennett, Morris and Katie Cloughley, Beverly Muirhead, Mike and Sue Locke, Greg and Alison Pickford and visitors, Brenda Griffin and Jim Mayer. 
19 – 21 September 2008 Faerie Queen (2236m) Organiser: Mike Drake 

Weather, snow, rain, avalanches, and fallen trees have thwarted a number of trips recently. But we struck it lucky. Mid-week DoC had checked the avalanche risk, cleared the snow-fall trees, and re-opened the St James Walkway. Thank you DoC. Maruia Springs, again, do not provide a taxi service, so yours truly was nominated as the MTB/car shuttle person. Mark had purchased a tow-bar for his car but only dreamed of fitting it, so it was off with the wheels, and put the bike on top of the packs. “Assume”, is a very dangerous practice. On this occasion it resulted in no camera on the trip! We each assumed that the other would be taking one. However, mine was working in Auckland, Ruth's has developed a scratch on the lens and Mark had also left his trusty analogue behind. A six hour walk from the St James Walkway carpark brought us to a campsite at approximately 1000m in Camera Gully, lower than a previous, but a better site. A little rearranging provided four small terraced tent sites. Previous campers had already decided on the kitchen area, and the inevitable brew was quickly made. Expecting the following day to be long, we had a large dinner of pasta, Blackball chorizo, capsicum, olives, onions and lots of other veggies, and of course garlic - almost filling a six litre billy. Four o'clock wakeup was greeted by a good frost. After chatting and sorting out the world, yet again, we headed up the valley at 05:20. We crossed a number of old avalanches as we went up the valley. Towards the head of the valley a wind started, sending recent fresh snow flowing across the surface. A long stretch of front-pointing brought us to the ridge. 

A short rest, more sustenance, then away to review the ridge. Faerie Queen was seen gleaming in the early morning sun 1140m away. The ridge was convoluted with cornices and various other snow sculptures from the “big dump” a few weeks ago. Fortunately the wind had dropped. Travel along the ridge was straightforward; however, some front-pointing was required to climb off the ridge up a large convex ice cream shaped snow dome to the summit. The travel back along the ridge was very pleasant, our only wish that we had a camera to capture the fantastic scenery. Then down, down and down back to the camp-site. We were soon floundering in soft snow, then through the trees, over the stream, down the grass to the camp-site. Again, the inevitable mug of tea while de-camping, and a bash through the trees to the main track. Once again, early evening saw us walking along the St James Walkway, Paradise Ducks signalling our passage. As we approached Ada Pass Hut wood smoke was in the air, so a warm hut was waiting. A welcome end to a successful climb, and a long thirteen hour day - but a great day. The next day a stroll down the valley brought us back to the carpark. Another MTB ride over the Lewis Pass, pedalling downhill against the gusty wind. A stop at Reid’s Store at Maruia for lunch, and then home. 

The team: Ruth Hesselyn, Mark Stevens, Marguerite Verheul, and Mike Drake.
26 September 2008 Mt Baldy Organiser: Dan McGuire 

The trip was moved to Friday because of impending bad weekend weather. Only three people went and we arrived early at the entrance to the Forestry. Although DoC had told us the road was open, there were numerous large signs warning that the road was closed due to logging. We decided to go, and found only one large tree down in our path but no logging trucks. Dave skillfully maneuvered around the tree and we got to the carpark early then set off. It was good weather and we arrived at the top in about three hours for a good all-around view (except for Mt. Egmont, which was in cloud). We got back to the cars in just over two hours. 

Participants: Dan McGuire, Dave Blunt and Beverly Muirhead.
26-28 September 2008 Travers Valley Cancelled/Track damage Organiser: Uta Purcell  

Substituted Abel Tasman Coastal Track Cancelled/No takers

 Substituted Tablelands & Cobb Ridge Round Trip

The Tablelands tramp of Plan C was put into action and turned into a holiday for Jo Kay and Uta Purcell. 

The continuing unsettled weather, though, made it into a tramp to Balloon Hut and back. Friday was a clear, fine day. We passed the familiar landmarks of rock shelters. On the track were alive and well numerous Powelliphanta snails. Before we got out of the bush for lunch outside of Salisbury Lodge, we negotiated eight fallen trees across the track, only one proved a real obstacle. Despite increasing wind, afternoon tea was on the deck of Balloon Hut. To enjoy the sun a little longer, we dashed up the Balloon Ridge, Mt Peel behind still glistening with plenty of snow. Near the ridge top the wind became unbearably strong. We had the hut to ourselves. On Day 2 the southerly still blew full force, no sun, but we had visibility. So we set off with Asbestos Cottage as our aim, but returned to the comfort of Balloon Hut before we had even reached the ridge crest. Within minutes snow began to fall and by afternoon it was pouring with rain. Warmed by the gas fire, we observed the weather from our cosy window seats and each finished a book. It cleared during the night and Day 3 dawned with a sparkling frost. We returned to Flora carpark by the same route, drinking in the wide, varied, and ancient landscape. The first trampers were encountered at Salisbury Lodge. Gourmet lunch was enjoyed beside a small creek along the track. We returned to a full carpark. Recharged after three relaxed days, Jo stopped the car on the highway in time to let nine ducklings cross, followed by mother duck as tail-end Charlie. 
5 October 2008 Courthouse Flat Walks Organiser: Ross Price 

A Road Closed sign greeted us on arrival at Rolling Junction so it was here that boots, jackets and packs were donned and we set off in a light drizzle to walk the three kilometres to Courthouse Flat, the site of Gladstone, a gold mining settlement, which in 1870 had a population of 250, three hotels - thirsty work being a gold miner - and a courthouse; the foundation stones are all that remain today. From here the track to Nuggety Creek meanders gently upwards following the contours of the blazing yellow gorse-covered hills and a short diversion to the site of the rock strewn site of the Colossus Mine is to be recommended. However a candle or lantern is essential for those whose pioneering spirit has been awakened as once inside the entrance to the mine, it is very dark and the source of the of dripping water would undoubtedly be felt before it was seen. To reach Doran’s Reef Mine on the edge of Nuggety Creek required ducking and diving skills as the track was obliterated in sections by fallen trees and vegetation, but to see the relics of abandoned mining equipment and the friendly antics of a New Zealand Robin made the effort worthwhile. Our post-prandial walk was in bright sunshine to Granity Creek and its resurgence and along the track, thanks to the information boards, remnants of both stone and wooden construction and pieces of iron equipment, this area provides an opportunity to marvel at the sheer tenacity and physical strength of gold miners, who literally downed tools and walked away from a futile project. The Granity Creek Resurgence is a sobering reminder of the power of water and Nature and here too was evidence of the weight of snow on trees and vegetation both alongside the track and on the hillsides. Birdsong and shared thoughts about The State of The Nation made the return journey to Rolling Junction seem like a Sunday afternoon walk in the park; an amiable caffeine fix at Tapawera rounded of an interesting, educational and enjoyable day. Thank you for your company: Mary and Richard Talbot, Ross Price, Sue and Mike Locke and Gillian Arbuthnott (scribe).
4-5 October 2008Angelus Cancelled due to weather Organiser: Bob Janssen 

Substitute: 5 October 2008Mt Robert Loop 

Due to poor weather Angelus as a weekend was replaced by a Sunday trip. The fit party headed off at the crack of dawn hoping to reach Angelus Hut, while the less organised medium party followed suit an half an hour or so later bound for Julius Summit. The forecast was for clearing in the morning. At the carpark, the low cloud and drizzle produced a negative mood swing in the “mediums” and they left their crampons in the car. Up The Pinchgut and out into the open, then at the turn-off to Bushline Hut the rain caused such a mood swing in the fit party, which was accompanied by appropriate action. As if drawn by their aura, a half hour later the mediums followed suit, to learn why only when they read the hut book. After staggered breaks at the hut – one of my favourites when not crowded – it was back homewards. The sky at last cleared as the mediums descended, and those decadent souls leaving the carpark as we all returned had the last laugh. It was not a day for well nourished early birds of either calibre. At least we got some exercise, and a visit to Jocelyn Winn’s new patch on the way home did round the day off. 

Fit early birds: Bob Janssen, David Blunt, Mark Stevens and Dion Pont. 

Medium birds: Peter and Margot (scribe) Syms.
12 October 2008 Lyell Walkway Organiser: Barry Pont 

It was a perfect day in Paradise when ten trampers started this 17.5 kilometre walk. A small highlight on the start of the track was the sight of two wekas with three chicks. After an 8 kilometre climb up the Pack Track, clearing some of the track as we went, we reached the old collapsed hut after lunch and then walked back down the track to eventually drop down onto the Lyell River bank, with a bit of bush bashing. We passed the old United Alpine Stamper site, then the miners’ hut, moving along the river track and arrived back at the vehicles at 5.55pm. Participants: Marguerite Verheul, Dick Battersby, Mary and Richard Talbot, Dion and Barry Pont and visitors Norm Lovelock, Pete Peters, Jane Dewar and Louisa.
11 October 2008 Mt. Murchison Organiser: Jocelyn Winn 

After a week of typically changeable spring weather, a beautiful day arrived for us. A great opportunity to regain some fitness after “that” Winter. But as we approached our mountain, he glowered at us from under a hat of cloud. Beginning with a pleasant walk across farmland, bypassing ewes with lambs, then up we went through beech forest. Birdlife was happy, grey warblers, bellbirds and possibly the chatter of a kakariki. This forest had escaped the destruction apparent nearer the lake, but many younger trees were still struggling towards the vertical and some branches lay on the road. Morning tea was where we could find a few square inches of sunshine so we could reassemble. Following a 4WD road, there are only two directions to go – there or home. It was becoming cooler as we gained height so we agreed it was best if we walked at our own speeds with the proviso that if you briefly left the track, you left your pack on it. Above the bushline, we went into snow patches where we were engulfed by wind and clag. We could hear the wind shrieking through the towers well before we could see them. In the lee of the building, Uta’s thermometer read -1C. We had taken exactly three hours so we rested for a few minutes but didn’t loiter for long, leaving an inhospitable Mt Murchison to brood in his Winter. Down a way, the clag cleared briefly to see the sun shining on the Tutaki area. In some shelter just below the bushline, we joined Jane to have lunch, she had been near the top but in the white-out she deemed it safer to retreat. Shortly, John strolled along, he had found a large rock slightly off track from where we could see the sun shining on the Buller River, some snowy tops but many cloud covered. Six people made their way along the road to the cars: Uta Purcell, Gretchen Williams, Mary Wu, Jocelyn and John Winn and visitor, Jane Dewar.
19 October 2008 Drumduan Organiser: Gretchen Williams 

We were very lucky - this lovely calm Sunday was nicely sandwiched between two days of awful southerly winds. We were able to languish at the top of the airstrip there and back. We followed the Cable Bay Walkway and fire breaks all the way with a slight detour at the top onto a rock outcrop for views to the south, west and north. We found ourselves at Richard’s house at The Glen exactly at afternoon tea time and he and Mary generously provided tea and biscuits for all fifteen of us. T'was a very nice finish to a nice wee tramp.

Participants: Tony Haddon, Maurice & Katie Cloughley, Dan McGuire, Gillian Arbuthnott, David Blunt, Mary Honey, Ruth Hesselyn, Mary Wu, Beverley Muirhead, Richard Talbot, Gretchen Williams and visitors, Jane Dewar, Sue Billingham, and Beverley Stephens. 
17-20 October 2008 Mt Adams Cancelled. Weather Organiser: Ruth Hesselyn 
25-27 October 2008 Granity Pass / Branch Creek Huts. Cancelled. Weather Organiser: Dion Pont 
Private Trip Report. Gretchen’s Labour Weekend 

For some years now it has become a habit to keep an eye on Tony when he goes off with his mates on Labour weekend. This year it was to be Otto Stream off the Rahu Saddle Rd. Until the weather forecast that was. Then it became “Let’s go up the Carlyle” Carlyle? Where the heck’s that? It’s actually off the Lewis Highway between Engineers Camp & the Hope Bridge. Tucked away out of the northwester. A DoC hut circa 1973, 2 hours in. Except they dragged me through the regen beech up Horseshoe Hill as well. 

Did I mention we went up the Carlyle because it was sheltered from the norwester? Well it snowed on us that night from the south east. Of course it had snowed on the beech regen all the way up the huge hill they dragged me up on Sunday morning. By half way up I decided the lads could keep their Labour weekends although I have to admit it did turn out fine on top if you don’t count intermittent snow showers and wind straight from Scott Base. 

It was the usual relief to discover we’d arrived at the designated camp site. Our three season tents were duly pitched on the only flattish ground – a bald knob kept clear of snow by the wind. Fortunately by the time the wind got up the pegs had frozen into the mud which was all that was left by the time we had removed the rocks and stamped the whole place flat.

In spite of appearances Tony can be a sweetie, he made me a hot water bottle. 

Next morning, following a sleep interrupted by clapping nylon, whistling guys, arguing neighbours and Tony’s snoring, it turned out my boots were only half frozen. With the wind still at blast freezer level and unpalatably deep snow the order was given to abandon plan A which called for a 5 km snowbash into the wind, and go for a tropical saunter down the sunny side into the Boyle and send for the cars.

It was at the free driver reviver coffee stop on the way home when I started wondering if we’d go up the Otto next year.